- Mamelodi Sundowns started the 2020/21 season with a defeat against Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 quarter final.
- A week later the Brazilians beat rivals Kaizer Chiefs as the Premiership kicked off.
- Coach Manqoba Mngqithi believes the failure to progress in the MTN8 over the years has been a wake-up call before the league begins.
Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Manqoba Mngqithi believes that their failure to progress in MTN8 over the years has helped his side start strongly in the league.
Masandawana have not won the MTN8 title in over a decade, last triumphing the tournament in 2007 and for the past past five years only advancing to the finals on one occasion, a match that ended in defeat against Bidvest Wits.
2010 – Quarter-final
2011 – Semi-final
2012 – Semi-final
2013 – *Did not qualify
2014 – Quarter-final
2015 – Quarter-final
2016 – Final (lost)
2017 – Quarter-final
2018 – Semi-final
2019 – Semi-final
2020 – Quarter-final
However, the MTN8 disappointments has, for the past five years, been a blessing in disguise as Masandawana have always started strongly in the league, winning their opening matches in the Premiership.
Sundowns are coming off an incredible run of championship wins completing the club's first treble as well as the leagues second three-peat (first team to do it was SuperSport United between 2007 and 2010).
The defending league champions started their 2020/21 season with a shock defeat against Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 but a week later handed rivals Kaizer Chiefs a 3-0 defeat in their first match Premiership season.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday ahead of Sundowns' midweek Premiership clash against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM), Mngqithi attempted to unpack the unique trend.
"For whatever reason, it's very difficult for me to tell you because the unfortunate part is that we never really started well in the MTN8 over the past four or five seasons,” said Mngqithi.
"In the league, for whatever reason, maybe the game in the MTN8 gives us a wake-up call to start the league on a high note.
"Over the past few years we've only been to the finals once in the MTN8, but we’ve never really had a strong run in the MTN8.
"I think that one or the other has helped us to focus more after a bad result. That's why when we go to the league, we always give it our best shot."
Wednesday's match starts at 19:30.